United Color seized command early in the stretch and gamely held on to defeat Russian Soul by a neck in the listed $150,000 Dubawi Stakes, the feature race at Meydan Jan. 16, the second meeting at the Dubai World Cup Carnival at Medyan Racecourse.
More than half of the nine-horse field for the race met in last year's Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I), including the past two winners—Reynaldothewizard (2013) and Krypton Factor (2112)—but United Color proved best in the first running of the Dubawi.
Drawn widest in the field, the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Ghostzapper tracked the slow early pace set by Farmleigh House, swiftly advanced on the turn to challenge that opponent, and dispatched him 300 meters out to lead.
United Color dug in under James Doyle and scored by neck in 1:11.75 on the all-weather track from Russian Soul, who rallied from the back of the field but could not get to the winner.
“We were drawn wide and nobody really wanted to go on, so I decided to get in a handy position, knowing we had race fitness and good course form,” Doyle said of United Color, who improved his Meydan record to 2-2-2 from seven starts. “He was going so strongly I was happy to let him track the early leader before we quickened well. I always thought I was holding on.”
Rafeej finished 1 1/4 lengths back in third. Even-money favorite Reynaldothewizard was checked in traffic after the opening quarter and was never in contention from there, finishing seventh. Krypton Factor started slowly, raced near the back of the field, and did not threaten in a sixth-place finish. Balmont Mast and Kavanagh, the respective runner-up and sixth-place finisher in the 2013 Golden Shaheen, checked in fourth and fifth in the Dubawi.
The Dubawi is a prep for the $200,000 Al Shindagha Sprint (UAE-III), a Jan. 30 race that serves as a springboard to $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen on the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) card March. 29.
Trained by Dhruba Selvaratnam for owner Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid al Maktoum, United Color has a 10-2-8 record that includes a group III win in Italy among 24 career starts. He came into the Dubawi off a neck second in a conditions race at Jebel Ali Dec. 27, marking his first start since the Golden Shaheen.
In pools hosted by Kentucky-based wagering company AmWest Entertainment, United Color paid $12.40 and $2.80 while keying an exacta with Russian Soul, who returned $9.
Bred by Adena Springs, United Color is out of the winning Langfuhr mare Silk Candy, a half sister to multiple graded stakes winner Sugar Swirl. He was snagged from his breeder's consignment for $10,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale, purchased by agent Federico Barberini.
Godolphin runners captured the card's two Guineas trials, both at 1,400 meters (about seven furlongs).
Emirates Flyer, ridden by Silvestre De Sousa for trainer Saeed bin Suroor, tracked from third early, charged between pacesetter My Catch on the rail and Godolphin stablemate Safety Check to his outside for a half-length victory in the trial for next month's United Arab Emirates Two Thousand Guineas (UAE-III).
In making his first start on an all-weather track, the winner snapped a three-race winless skid in England in covering the 1,400-meter (about seven-furlong) conditions race in 1:24.62. Safety Check edged My Catch by head for second.
A British-bred son of Acclamation, Emirates Flyer has a 3-3-0 career line from seven starts. His record includes seconds in a trio of stakes including the 2013 Solario Stakes (Eng-III), in which he was two lengths behind early English Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I) favorite Kingman last summer at Sandown.
The $250,000 Two Thousand Guineas (UAE-III) will run at 1,600 meters (about one mile) Feb. 13.
Godolphin's Wedding Ring stormed through the stretch and collared frontrunner Magrooma late before pulling clear to a 1 1/4-length win in the trial for the United Arab Emirates One Thousand Guineas.
Mickael Barzalona settled the Oasis Dream filly well off the early pace of Letterfromamerica and raced three-wide throughout. Full of run off the turn, she picked off rivals in a steady rally to notch a third straight victory.
Trained by Charlie Appleby, Wedding Ring covered the trip in 1:25.67. Magrooma, who took charge from Letterfromamerica at the 300-meter mark, finished second, 1 3/4 lengths in front that rival in third.
The winner is out of the Elusive Quality mare Cast in Gold, who is a half sister to English classic winner and sire Rule of Law.
The listed $250,000 U.A.E. One Thousand Guineas going 1,600 meters is set for Feb. 6.
The next meeting of the Dubai World Cup Carnival is set for Thursday, Jan. 23 and features the $250,000 Al Fahidi Fort (UAE-II), which is a prep for the $5 million Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) on the Dubai World Cup undercard.